Thomas extends his Tour lead, Martin up to eighth

Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France

But Froome will still be toasting his close friend and colleague with a glass of champagne when Team Sky roll into Paris, Thomas becoming their third rider, and the third Briton, to win the Tour de France in seven astonishing years.

Dumoulin (Sunweb) beat defending champion Chris Froome (Sky) by a single second to take the stage while Thomas took a conservative line to finish 14 seconds later for third.

Thomas will carry a lead of one minute and 51 seconds into Sunday's traditional procession into Paris before the sprinters fight it out for glory on the Champs-Élysées.

Froome will be on the podium Sunday in third behind his teammate, but there is a sense that Froome isn't giving up his crown that easily.

Image copyright Team Sky Cycling Image caption The reality of what Thomas has achieved hits home in an embrace with team boss and fellow Welshman Sir David Brailsford.

"Everyone that knows me knows that, can't do anything else about the negativity that is around the team so I am happy, I know we all do it the right way - we work so hard and just so happy to finish the job today".

Sure, the crash Froome endured on that opening day handed Thomas an immediate advantage.

"It was hard but I thought it would actually be harder", said the Slovak.

Laruns - Dutchman Tom Dumoulin lashed out at Tour de France rival Primoz Roglic on Friday, claiming the Slovenian's stage 19 victory came thanks to some timely pacing by a motorbike on the race.

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Dumoulin is the world time trial champion and could gain plenty of time there.

"He was never put into trouble by anyone in the mountains, or on any stage, also not by me", said Dumoulin.

Froome was knocked off his bike after stage 17 of the Tour de France on Wednesday.

The move hurt Froome, however, as the four-time Tour champion cracked before the top, only managing to come back in the short descent leading up to the Aubisque, where Bardet and Landa were caught by Thomas and the other top favourites.

Slovakia's Peter Sagan is set to win a record-equalling sixth green jersey as victor of the points classification, with Julian Alaphilippe of France already the King of the Mountains in polka dot.

"I am super disappointed", said Dumoulin, who finished the stage in sixth place at 19secs behind Roglic to see his deficit on yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas grow by six seconds to 2min 05sec.

'I only have respect for Thomas, ' he said. 'Alpe D'Huez was the one when I was the most under pressure but getting through it gave me a big boost, ' he said.

The Welshman said after: "The last time I cried was when I got married".

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